Sunday, June 08, 2008

Powerslave (1984)


There's probably an interesting debate to be had over what rock and metal albums open with the best 1-2 punch. I'd like to nominate Powerslave. This record comes blasting out of the gate with what I can easily consider as two of the most definitive Maiden songs, "Aces High" and "2 Minutes to Midnight." In fact, as I sat down with this one from front-to-back, it dawned on me that these two songs are such perfect specimens of metal at its best, that they could easily have coasted on the rest of the record and people would still have no problem saying that Powerslave-era Maiden is the best Maiden. Of course, we all know that's not what happened. After the huge hit blast at the top, Maiden dished out their most epic songwriting to date. For my money, this is easily the best sounding record the band has ever released. There's amazing production here, with lots of sonic space given to each member of the band, who all play like they're on fire, which they damn well are. Steve Harris' melodic gallop sounds richer than ever, the guitar work is an embarrassment of riches (the solo on "2 Minutes to Midnight" is a favorite of more than one Hooks contributor, myself included), Nicko McBrain has what may very well be his finest hour here, and Bruce sings his heart out. This is plainly and simply Iron Maiden at their biggest and boldest. The album artwork and the World Slavery live show(documented so perfectly on Live After Death) provided a perfect through-line that began with the epic cuts on the album. And, if we ever have a healthy debate on what rock and metal albums close with the best 1-2 punch, I'd like to nominate Powerslave. The title track and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," for lack of a more eloquent turn of phrase, fucking ruuuuuule.


This album has RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. It is perfect. Words fail me. It's what metal is to me. and what is was to me in 1984. The cover. The scale. The guitars. The literary prowess. Even my remastered copy of the CD that has the booklet completely stapled wrong with the liner notes of 'Number of the Beast' in it. It's perfect. Come on.


Zea said...

Interesting to know.

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